If you are a NorthWestern Energy customer, last week the Montana Public Service Commission voted 4-1 to increase your electricity bills by 6.25% because the aging Colstrip coal-fired power plant broke down – again. NorthWestern Energy owns 30% of Colstrip Unit 4. Last year Colstrip broke and wasn’t able to generate any electricity for six months. Just a few years ago it broke down and was off-line for 6 months as well. During both outages, if you were a NorthWestern Energy customer you were still paying for the broken plant and the replacement power. We need you to contact the Montana Public Service Commission, and to tell it that Montanans don’t want their electric bills to increase because of an unreliable and aging coal plant.
Despite the Colstrip plants record of poor performance, the PSC voted to require NorthWestern Energy’s customers pay for the breakdown. The PSC may call your bill increase an “interim” bill increase, but it was still willing to increase your bill by 6.25% to cover $32 million of out-of-pocket costs for NorthWestern Energy.
Colstrip was already expensive before this rate hike. Year after year it is one of NorthWestern’s most expensive electricity source. It is twice as expensive as wind. It’s far more expensive than energy efficiency. It’s also unreliable. Over the last several years it’s been off-line nearly one-fifth of the time. The bottom line is the dirty old Colstrip plant is a bad deal for bill payers. Please contact the PSC, and remind them to represent Montana consumers, not utility investors.